The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

Building a gaming PC can be difficult and stressful. There are a thousand things that can go wrong, and any one of them could wind up costing hundreds of dollars. And yet we do it anyway. Why? Lord only knows.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've finished building and fine-tuning a new gaming PC. I had a lot of fun, but the process could also be pretty annoying.

Today, I'm going to list the ten worst things about building a new gaming PC. Earlier this week I listed the ten best things about building a new PC. If you want positivity, that's the place to go.

For now: Bitterness! Negativity! Complaining! Here we go.

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

1. Sharing anything about your new PC with other people who build PCs.

People who make PCs are enthusiastic and knowledgable. Those can both be good attributes. But if you make the mistake of telling other PC-builders anything about your intended build, they will happily to tell you that what you're doing is wrong, and that they know a better way.

You shouldn't have chosen that CPU. It's a Haswell chip, and Haswells run too hot. You shouldn't have gotten those GTX 770s, because Nvidia is obviously going to reveal the 800 series soon and those will be much faster. You shouldn't have gotten that heatsink, because a water cooler will let you overclock much more. You shouldn't have gotten that monitor, you shouldn't use that keyboard, and you shouldn't have gotten the RAM with the heatsinks, because now your cooler fan won't fit in your case.

You are bad at this. You chose poorly. Your PC will be slower than it could've been. Sorry.

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

2. Spending $US100 on a new Windows licence.

You could buy a lot of things for a hundred dollars. You could probably buy a nice new pair of pants, or a remote-controlled car, or at the very least an exorbitant collector's edition of some game you want. But not this hundred dollars. You'll be spending this hundred dollars on Windows, the operating system that no one likes.

See, the last time you built a PC, you bought an OEM system builder's version of Windows. You could only use it once, and it became tethered to your motherboard. "No big deal," you thought. "It will be a while until I build another PC."

It was indeed a while until you built another PC. It took precisely the amount of time from then until now, and now here you are, yet again blowing one hundred fucking dollars on a new Windows licence.

You start to think about how Apple made their OS free, and how the operating system on an Xbox One is free, and why the hell hasn't Microsoft just gone ahead and made Windows free already, and then you punch in your credit card information anyway because life is unfair and sometimes you just have to pay too much for something you don't even want because let's face it, you're not going to learn Linux anytime soon.

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

3. The anti-static strap.

Anti-static straps are important. They ground you and discharge the static electricity that's built up from all that time you spend sliding over your carpets in your socks, keeping you from blasting your delicate PC components like Emperor Palpatine.

According to common wisdom, if you touch anything on your motherboard without wearing an anti-static strap, your entire PC will explode, burning off your eyebrows and setting fire to your home. And yet you will constantly forget to wear it, because humans are flawed, and our memories are garbage.

This time around, I took my anti-static strap so seriously. And yet one out of every seven times I touched something in my case, I'd realise oh god damn it, I'm not wearing the god damn strap. And I'd hastily put it back on, and hope that the universe hadn't noticed.

While I understand that you don't actually need a strap, and that as long as you regularly touch the case to ground yourself you're probably fine, my doubts linger. Every time my PC doesn't quite work like it's supposed to, a tiny part of me wonders if it's because of that one time I jiggled the video card without wearing the strap. I'll never know.

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

4. Screws.

When you first open your new PC case, a huge bag of screws will fall out. This will probably be followed by another small box, which also has some screws in it. If your case is like mine, it will also have a small "toolkit" built into the bottom, which also contains some screws.

You will start the process of building your PC by counting and sorting your screws. You'll do this by matching them up with the diagram at the beginning of the instructions. You have 8 copies of the 12c screw, which is the narrower Phillips-head that is a bit longer than the shorter 11c. You've got the 6b nut, and the 13xab washer, and you had better count all of them to make sure they're all here. You'll probably have some extras of each, which will make you wonder why, and whether you counted wrong.

And then you follow the instructions and realise that you'll have to keep going back to page one to make sure you're using the right screw for each thing, and eventually you'll kind of start faking it anyway. You will go to extraordinary lengths to keep your screws organised and tidy, but if you're like me, you will try to do this by using small bowels from the kitchen and you won't have enough, and then you will accidentally knock a big bag of screws onto the floor and almost lose an untold number of them into an air vent.

By the time close your case you'll still have an entire bowl full of screws that you didn't use, which were apparently included to allow for other parts that you didn't have. You will put these screws in a baggie, place them in the box your motherboard came in, and put it down in the basement, never to be spoken of again.

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

5. The thing you need but don't have.

You thought you had everything you would need. You were so careful -- you ordered it all online and carefully timed it so that it would all arrive at once. You even ordered a new PC tool kit because it was ridiculously cheap on Amazon and you figured that maybe there are some new types of screws since the last time you made a PC, so what the hell.

And so here you are: It's midnight, you're elbow deep in your new machine, and you've realised that you don't have a part that you need. Maybe it's a screw. (It's probably a screw.) Maybe it's a wrench, or a specific sort of tiny screwdriver. Maybe it's a certain type of rubbing alcohol that you need to remove thermal paste. Maybe it's an adaptor for your power supply that you thought was included but apparently wasn't.

Whatever it is, you don't have it. You will then go through The Five Stages of Needing a Thing and Not Having It:

1) Denial. "I know I have it. I even remember seeing something that looked like it. There's no way I don't have it. It's probably in the box or something."

2) Anger. "Are you kidding me?? I paid a thousand dollars for this stuff! I spent hours shopping online! Tonight's the night I have free to finish! All the stores are closed! WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME."

3) Bargaining. "Maybe I can get it to work anyway. Maybe I can just run my GPU with a different sort of power cable. Maybe I don't need to screw that part down. It seems ok just loose like that…right? Here, I'll google it."

4) Depression. "I'm not going to finish this PC tonight. I'm never going to finish it. Tomorrow Kate is coming in from out of town and we already made plans to go out after work, and I'm not even sure when I'll go out to buy what I need. I should just give up."

5) Acceptance. "OK. It's ok. Don't plug in the wrong sort of power. You did that once when you were in college and you fried the board, and that was a lot worse than just waiting. Go find what you need, get it overnighted, and it will come to you. You've waited months to upgrade your PC. You can wait a day or two more. It's ok. Take your time and get it right. In the meantime, you've earned a beer."

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

6. Thermal paste.

Fuck thermal paste. There may be no more divisive, infuriating, doubt-infecting substance in all of technology. How does one best apply thermal paste? How can it be screwed up? What happens if it's applied wrong? How can you tell?

Lots of things about PC-building are pretty straightforward. This thing plugs into the other thing, this card slides into that slot, these screws line up with the screw-holes and you tighten them down. Thermal paste is an annoying bastard because it's loose, it oozes, it must be applied, and therefore it is eminently possible to screw it up.

If you apply too little paste, your heatsink won't pull heat off of your CPU effectively. If you apply too much, it will actually cause your CPU to run hotter. The stakes are high.

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

No one agrees about how best to apply thermal paste. If you look at (literally) any thread about CPU cooling, you will see someone telling someone else that they have probably applied their thermal paste wrong.

Some people say that you should drop a blob the size of a pea on the center of the CPU. Other people say the blob should be the size of a lentil, not a pea. Others say to use a business card to carefully spread it around before applying the heatsink. Still others -- including my best friend Paul from Newegg! -- advise using a plastic baggie to smear the thermal paste over the top of the CPU.

Here's the other thing about thermal paste…you can never really know if you got it right. Thermal paste is one of Rumsfeld's known unknowns; sandwiched there between your CPU and your heatsink, there is no way to inspect it without removing the heatsink entirely, which will force you to painstakingly remove and re-apply the existing thermal paste. I did this, three times, after repeatedly becoming convinced that I'd installed my Cooler Master heatsink incorrectly.

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

Rarely have I felt doubt like I felt, and still feel, about my thermal paste. Please don't talk to me about my thermal paste. I'm serious.

7. Those tiny front-LED cables.

PC building has gotten easier over the last ten years. Almost everything is now bigger, more clearly marked, and more standardized. Everything, that is, except for those teeny tiny plugs that connect the your case's power switch and front-panel LEDs to your motherboard.

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

I have a feeling that these plugs are singlehandedly responsible for more than a couple potential PC-builders deciding that, you know what, I don't have what it takes to do this after all. They're so tiny, and so easy to knock loose or plug in incorrectly.

You begin to plug in the cables, realising halfway through that you've got the polarities reversed and need to start over. Then you'll be doing something else and realise that you accidentally unplugged one, and don't know which one, or where it goes. You'll bend one of the tiny little metal prongs, and have to get some tweezers out to fix it.

And yeah, if you have an ASUS motherboard, you'll get a nifty little Q-connector that lets you connect everything outside of the case. Good for you. That must be super great. The rest of us will be over here, squinting and biting our tongues, pushing and praying.

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

8. The games that still don't run smoothly.

The greatest joy of a new gaming PC is the satisfaction of firing up games that gave your old PC a hard time and crushing them like bugs. That little frame-rate counter in the corner of your screen becomes beautiful, tangible proof that all your hard work has actually paid off.

And yet…there are always a couple of games, you know? The open-world game that still hitches every time you drive a car, even when you lower the graphics settings to medium. The city-building game that would be so lovely at 2650x1600 resolution, but which can't seem to hit 60fps even at 1080p. The post-apocalyptic adventure that claims to be optimised for Nvidia cards but still runs like a slideshow on ultra settings.

This is unacceptable, you will think. And so you'll drive yourself mad trying to make things better. You'll spend ages in the Nvidia control panel adjusting triple-buffering and testing adaptive V-sync and experimenting with forcing alternate frame renderings 1 and 2. You'll download mods that improve performance but find that they still don't make things as smooth as you'd like.

Eventually you'll acquiesce and lower your in-game settings. But it will eat at you.

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

9. Overclocking.

If you're building a new gaming PC, you're probably planning to overclock your hardware. Sure, you can run your CPU and GPU at stock speeds like a commoner, but you just spent all this money on a hot-shit case and with sick vents and an unlocked CPU and a custom cooler, so you should probably overclock your stuff, no?

Here's the problem: Overclocking sucks.

For starters, the entire process is built on a foundation of fear. The first thing you see when you begin to truly overclock will probably be a terrifying pop-up that reads something like "Warning: You are about to void your warranty. This is not recommended. What is the matter with you?"

It's like those signs at Ocean Beach in San Francisco:

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

But, you know, have fun at the beach!

Hopefully you find a good oveclocking guide like the onesover at Lifehacker. But even then, you're kinda on your own, at least a little bit. If you're overclocking your CPU, chances are your motherboard BIOS will have some weird-arse names for voltage that don't line up with what what your online guide says, and you'll spend an hour or two googling around looking for what to do with your specific motherboard. Multiple times, you will consider that maybe you just don't care about overclocking enough, and maybe this whole thing isn't even worth it.

Once you do overclock your hardware, you can begin the interminable process of stress-testing and benchmarking. You will watch the Heaven benchmark software run so many times that you will feel like you actually live in that lonely floating city with the blimp and the dragon statue.

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

But each time you run it, your score will get a little higher. And that will keep you going. Eventually something weird will happen, like your GPUs will freak out and start registering weird, erratic clock speeds. Or your CPU temperature will spike above 90 degrees. Or your computer will crash. And you'll panic, and wonder why the hell you're doing this at all.

You'll consider the fact that you could have spent the last four hours riding your bike, or reading a book, or eating a delicious meatball sub at the place down the street.

Then you'll reboot, tweak your clock speeds, and settle in to run another benchmark. And that's because of one thing:

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

10. The gnawing feeling that your PC still isn't fast enough.

There will always be a faster PC. There will always be a graphics card with a higher number on the side, and there will always be a CPU with more, speedier cores. There will always be games that require more than your PC can muster, no matter how new your build and how recent your hardware.

It will start as a whisper, sooner than you expect:

But what about The Witcher 3, it will hiss. That game will probably require more power than you have. You'll probably have to turn off soft shadows, and reduce the draw distance. You definitely won't be able to run at your monitor's native resolution. You'll have to make it so that water doesn't reflect the sky. You'll have to bump things down until it almost looks like...the console version.

Over time, the whisper becomes a murmur. What if you got a liquid cooling system? You could probably get a few more Mhz of CPU speed. Did you see that deal Newegg is having on 780 Tis? You could probably get one of those. Or two! Think about how good it would feel to make your PC faster…just a little faster…

You can't fight the hunger; you can only slow it down. At some point, you're going to want to upgrade. You stare at your new PC, sitting there in its spot beside your desk, and realise that it already isn't as fast as it could be.

Congratulations: You've built a gaming PC, and will never be content with anything, ever again. Have fun!

The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter @kirkhamilton.

Stock photos via Shutterstock, Ocean Beach photo via Flickr, Fried CPU via Hardware Canucks | Gifs via Tek Syndicate, Kevin Colleran

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Comments

    7. At least it's colour coded and clearly marked these days

      I've personally never had issues with #7, actually I've had very few of these issues. Especially the 10th one, I build as fast as my budget allows knowing I will never own the fastest machine on the planet.

      And worse #8 Games not running smoothly is Games that don't work at all.

        with #10: I never even go for the fastest one. The step from 2nd or 3rd fastest to the top end is usually several hundred dollars and just not worth it. What's the difference between 78 and 80 FPS?
        Can you tell?
        I can: about $800
        Is it worth it?

          Sometimes it is worth it. For instance if you want to game with multiple monitors or above 1080p, that $800 graphics card with 4GB of GDDR5 memory might just be what you need. :)

          But at 1080p the card might do nothing besides push your FPS much higher than your monitor can display.

          Last edited 18/07/14 11:03 pm

            Yes, but in that case your needs are set higher, as is your budget.
            If you want to build yourself a PC, you set yourself your needs and budget accordingly. And even then there will be graphic cards at $800, $1500 and $2000 that do satisfy your needs. The $800 will get the job done, the $1500 will get it done in a great way, and the $2000 will add 5 FPS to what the $1500 card does.
            Would you still upgrade?

      I could never understand why they don't just ship motherboards with a simple 2 inch ribbon cable that brings it off the motherboard. You plug the case into the ribbon away from the motherboard where you can actually see it, then you plug the ribbon into the motherboard and tuck it neatly into the case. If you're finding that clutters up the case too much you can decide to just skip the cable and plug directly into the motherboard.

        There has been attempts to introduce such a standard in the past, but they never really caught on.

        Unfortunately there isn't much of an incentive for case manufacturers to use such a ribbon cable: the ribbon cable will only be compatible with motherboards that have an appropriate header, while a set of broken-out connectors will work for any motherboard, whether it supports the ribbon cable or not.

          Nah, it wouldn't create any compatibility problems if it were made by the motherboard manufacturer and distributed with the motherboard. From a case manufacturer's perspective it's the same thing just floating around on the end of a cable instead of on the motherboard. It would just be one to one with one end looking like an IDE cable and the other mirroring the motherboards pins. You would need to include a pack of caps because the pins would be exposed and flying loose rather than tight against the motherboard, but I think that's worth it.

          I wish I had my tools here I'd make one up and show you what I mean.

            That doesn't seem to buy you anything over designing the ribbon cable header on the motherboard so you can plug individual case leads in directly, which is what I think the previous standardisation efforts tried.

            I kind of wish they'd bothered including this in the ATX standard back when we were switching away from AT cases.

            I think I get what you were going on about now. You're basically describing ASUS's Q connector, which was mentioned in the article:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0RZpqU3umU

            I was thinking of the case providing a standardised ribbon cable that you could plug directly into the motherboard, which gets rid of the problem entirely.

              Yep that's pretty much it. I was picturing that but with a ribbon cable so you could pull it out to the side of the case to operate on it, since my main issue has always been that it's too deep in there. Still, next time I'm replacing a motherboard I'll be looking for one that comes with that Q connector. =P

              It always just seemed strange to me that it's so messy when even the most insignificant aspects seem to have found a simplified standard at some point over the years. Like you say they could have got away with a standard plug head and pin configuration on it when the ATX standard was being established.

        You mean why don't they all use an Asus Q-connector? For the life of me, I'll never know. It must cost about 2c to manufacture.

    Those power/LED cables annoy the crap out of me, but they're getting easier with every build to figure it out... Running the power/data cables cleanly to maximise airflow bugs me the most about building new PC's.

    As for games still not running smooth, that typically only happens when the game isn't well optimised (GTA IV and Assassin's Creed 4 come to mind)

    2. I don't think I've ever spent $100 on a Windows license... always either got it free (UNI MSDN sub) or $160+. I'd go full Linux in a heartbeat if I expected any big publishers to actually start making games (and optimising them) for it.

    Last edited 18/07/14 1:25 pm

      You aren't supposed to use those MSDN subs for real work though: when I last looked at it, the license clearly stated that it was for testing purposes (e.g. if you are developing software and need to test it out on all the various Microsoft OS configs), and you'd need separate licenses for deployment or everyday use.

      While you pay Microsoft for the MSDN license, it could still count as piracy.

        And I work at said uni, and used it for development. I paid for all my personal licenses out of my own pocket.

      Build a $2000+ custom PC, baulk at a $100 windows license, mind you anyone competent enough to build their own pc would have a 'spare' copy of windows that they can install.

        Well... (a) I've never spent that much on a computer - my current one was the most expensive thus far, and totalled $1200; and (b) as I've said, I've always had to pay over $160 for a windows license, which brings it to about 10-15% of the cost of the PC, which I don't consider an insignificant amount. Still, I'm sure there aren't many people that would pay $100+ for a license if they had a free (legal) alternative, regardless of how much they're already spending.

      Was in the same boat as yourself in regards to Linux. It always pained me deelpy that I used linux for everything, yet I still had to keep this turd of a windows install around for games.

      My latest PC build [2 months ago], I finally took the plunge. Now every computer in my house is Linux, including my main desktop.

      Sure, I can't [natively] play some of the bigger games, but the support is getting better and better with each day. Plus, it's a case of chicken and the egg here...... There's not going to be a sudden leap overnight to Linux for game developers, it's only going to happen slowly. But it requires people to actually demand, and then *play* the games on Linux.
      Figured I'd rather take the leap and put up with slightly less AAA games, and actively show my support for Linux, rather than just wait for it to be where I want.

      And, you know what, to be finally rid of Windows.... feels SOOOOOOOOO much better than any of the AAA games could ever be. And hey, it's not like there's a shortage of Linux games these days. My library is plenty full! :p

      DO IT! :-D

    When you build your new gaming PC, then have a gaming night, and the only one who actually works properly is the bootcamp-ed Mac. Every. Single. Time.

    Cool article. I agree with most of it :)

    point 3.

    Screwdriver... Check! Metal Case... Check! *touches screwdriver to case* oh look grounded :) always always works dont stress about it too much.

    Point 7. FUCK THOSE THINGS!!!!!

    At least my latest board was asus :) and it was easier.

      Who was the genius that thought "derp, I'll indicate the +ive (is it +ive? or is it -ve??? Im still not sure! D:) with a triangle symbol!!!"

        Its +ive.

        I must be a masochist since I enjoy the everything except for THAT FUCKING THERMAL PASTE. My first closed water cooling system had an issue in my last computer. I was not dilligent enough in removing the old thermal paste properly, which resulted in the heatsink end springing off with a counter clockwise twist. The end result was 8 bent CPU pins. I nearly cried. My beautiful phenom II 9550 was on life support the day I bought it. I managed to get the pins straightened without a snap

    The 10 Worst Things About Building A New Gaming PC (For people who aren't in IT)

    Seriously anti-static straps are not only the biggest con ever but also make you look retarded. As long as you handle the components right and touch the bare metal of you case before you start, you will be fine.

    The razor sharp internal edges in cases is always what killed me the most, granted this has improved greatly recently and the quality of case helps. But days where scrimping on the case could potentially improved other components has left me scarred... physically and emotionally.

      Oh god I still have flashbacks to that time I had to build a PC with a Brianology BigAnt case at work. The build quality of the case is the stuff of nightmares.

    Building a PC from scratch is both fun and terrifying at the same time.

    I built mine a couple years ago and have been slowly upgrading it since, but the first time I pressed that power button I was wincing just in case something went wrong (and it did because I forgot to plug in a fan, luckily the system noticed and told me before the universe imploded and dogs and cats started getting married)

    But it's reasonably simple to do now if you have moderate knowledge, most things are labelled and colour coded and you can always use online guides to help.

    The end result is pretty satisfying when you know you have built a beast all by yourself.

    Have to say, I've never applied thermal paste with a glove

    Seriously, in 20 years of stuffing around with 286's to i7's SLi watercooled machines (that glow in the dark) I have NEVER owned or used an anti-static strap...

      I've only ever used one once when i was forced to working in a PC repair place... i quickly "Lost" it and every subsequent replacement.

      Apple "require" you to wear one if you're a registered service center. Doesn't ever happen.

      I work as an IT tech and I can tell you I pretty much never wear one. I did one time when I went to fix a PC at some company. The IT guy there just smirked at me like an idiot and says "Wrist-strap. Really?" Most people who work in the industry have this attitude. The only time I ever wear one is if I'm working on a server. Mainly because if something does get damaged, it's super expensive to replace it. That and the server admins are massively paranoid about people touching their shit.

      It mostly affects discrete components rather than a complete board. A single mosfet if touched by fingers can almost gaurentee it's gone but in circuit it'd rather go through that 100ohm resistor than the 100k resistance of an integrated circuit (values only for example)

      And while I'm ranting.

      Touching the case to ground you? What's grounding the case? What you're building a pc while it's plugged in?

      Also a thin layer of heat paste will do it is only to fill microscopic uneveness on the contact faces.

      Last edited 18/07/14 6:30 pm

    For me

    Point 1 - I remember an old workmate and myself when work was going slow, we would email each other different system builds at various prices from $300 all the way to "Oh My God...why the hell would you spend so much" (I think my proposed build was priced at around $19k at the time)...and would go back and forth with blue text or red text why this is good or not good (especially when it came to video cards)

    Point 4 - The worst thing is when you have built a number of machines for yourself and for friends you end up with a massive bag of screws....comes in handy if you lose a screw in building another PC but then you have all different sizes and threads and you end up grabbing a screw and screw it in only to find out the tread starts stripping and then you need to unscrew it and using a flathead screwdriver as a wedge to get said screw out..

    Point 7 - Not only the Front LED Cables but what about those cases that have front mount USB 2 plugs as individual pins instead of one plug...it's the bane of my existence...also why can't case manufacturers have a uniformed standard of coloring (I don't know how many times I have put the reset plugs the wrong way....power on the unit and it's constantly resetting itself.

    Point 8 - As long as the game was optimised correctly then it should work good...but then again you've built this you-beauty gaming PC and it should be able to take anything you trow at it.

    The one thing that was missed - When you find out that your shiny brand new CPU/SSD/GPU/RAM is DOA and you have to either a) drive back to the store and get it exchanged or b) pack it and send it back (if you purchased it online)...it's a major headache nonetheless

    I didn't get a strap when I built mine. But I would touch that case like a mother flipping quicksave every 2 seconds.

      So you built a pc with it plugged in?

        Yep, I always do. I like the case to be earthed while working on it.

          So if you get charged with static you've created a circuit for it to travel through the static sensitive parts then out to earth?

    The worst thing would be parts that are DOA, but work juuuuuust well enough to frustrate the hell out of you with random crashes that no matter how many tests you run on the part, dont show a fault.
    Had 1 ram stick in a kit of 4 that was faulty, memtest showed it as fine, but when that single stick of ram was on its own couldnt even start windows setup without bluescreening, but ONLY in slot 2. new ram kit and everything was happy... or so i thought.
    then the shiny new nvidia gtx 580 decided to undervolt itself by default, most games were fine, but World of warcraft crashed the card after 5 seconds repeatedly unless i bumped the core voltage up .1 volts.
    Luckily both were replaced without issue under warranty at the store i bought them, but i was oh so very close to launching that computer out the window.

      Worst time I had was when I bought all the PC components, which included a motherboard and memory chips that were newer than the motherboard. Started getting all sorts of weird memory errors and was convinced I had faulty memory chips - returned them and of course they worked fine at the store.
      Ended up having to download version 8 of the motherboard ROM..

      Warcraft is weird. I used to have crashes every 5 minutes while running it on dx11 but on dx9 it'd be fine. Was using a gtx580 so dx11 shouldn't have been an issue and never was in other games. But while researching it. Found other people with high-end cards that could for example only run the game with mid settings or else they'd get stuttering.

    I apply thermal past to CPUs in my job just about every day. I have NEVER seen anyone use a plastic bag to "smear" the paste over the CPU, nor have I ever seen it done. I always apply a line down the centre of the CPU. Can't say it has ever been an issue.

    Given the terms and syntax used I would have to say that the worst part of this article is that the author has very little experience when it comes to PC hardware.

    Seriously...

    Whine whine whine.

    Back in my day:

    - You had to have a blood donor on standby for when you inevitably slit your wrists on the sharp edges of the case.

    - Cases that weighed as much as monitors, and monitors that weighed as much as a small car (always made taking gear to LANs fun!)

    - Everything required so much force you were always convinced you'd snap a component in half.

    - IDE and SCSI cables!

    - Jumper settings!

    EMM386, CONFIG.SYS and MSCDEX.EXE, arggghhh!!!!

      Sharp edges of the case ? what about the darn expansion cards themselves. I sliced myself open on the corners of ISA cards far too many times by slipping when applying the crazy ammount of force some of them seemed to want.
      MSCDEX.EXE being unloaded by Command and Conquer in order for it to save memory was fun too :P

        Good ol mscdex I remember the pain that it'd cause. Make a dos boot disk for win95 but then have to manually run it to get your cdrom to work to load your 95 install disk cause I didn't have an iso of 95, just a drag and drop to the disk.
        But don't close the door to hard while your burning your disk or the dreaded buffer under run.

        Last edited 18/07/14 9:03 pm

    It's funny. because only days ago you were bragging about how good it is to build a gaming pc... O:) Something went wrong??

    Great article! I would just like to point out that small bowels shouldn't be in your kitchen (unless your kitchen is also a part of your gastrointestinal tract).

    This article was hilarious. I've experienced pretty much all of these at some point or another and was chuckling the whole way through!

    Having said that, I'd have to agree with the other posters when saying anti-static bands are not as essential as people think. I've been through hundreds of instances of tinkering with hardware and building PCs over the years and have NEVER used a strap and never had any static damage. Handling components with the edges of the (non-conductive) PCB , grounding via the case and obviously never wearing socks while working on carpet seems to be effective enough in stopping static build-up.

    Also, regarding the screws thing, I agree 100% but just the other day via an NCIX video on YouTube, I saw that you can buy these awesome magnetic screw bowls now - allowing you to sort out the different screws into their own piles and not worrying about them rolling all over the place and getting lost. Absolute genius!

    Last edited 18/07/14 9:55 pm

    great article Kirk. gave me a good chuckle :)

    I can vouch for #1, i wrote a comment on the 10 best things article about my new PC build and someone moaned that i didn't need a i7 4790k CPU, 2 video cards are unnecessary and 16GB of RAM was overkill.

    I got some components today for my new build - case, modo and PSU, and one thing at annoyed me was cable management, the bright sparks at NZXT thought it would be a good idea to bundle cables around the hole i needed to plug the mobo power cord into. I knew cable management was no walk in the park but i feel i did a fairly decent job for my first attempt. Also a nearly unbendable(?) mobo cable didn't help either.

    Once again I feel great pride and shame over how accurate this list is for me.

    PC's have never been easier to build. They look beautiful inside as well when compared to the beige boxes of old. Ah Modular power supply, you look so chunky and connecty...

      Not to mention thumbscrews. How many new builds require screwdrivers anymore?

    Also; unless you know how overclocking works - don't do it. Each Identical chip will have more, or less, over-clock capability on a per-chip basis. (though I'm sure they've got it down to a fine art, searching for specific batch runs and whatnot)

    Intels Turbo-Boost is the safe "over-clock" and that is built-in. Save it for the Pro's. Learn from them if you want too do it right. And don't use your brand new cpu to try and imitate the hardcore PC users - use old hardware, that won't matter if it breaks.

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